Despite being separated by more than 1,600 miles of Atlantic coastline, Camden, Maine, and Delray Beach, Florida, share beautiful beaches, thriving arts communities, and a treasured small-town feel.
Best Glimpse of History
Camden: Camden Opera House
This 500-seat gem, built in 1894, boasts the stellar acoustics of a Victorian-style opera house. With an event calendar that features New England comedic legends, like Bob Marley, and classic films, it’s the ideal place to stop for entertainment and take in rich architectural history at the same time.
Delray Beach: Spady Cultural Heritage Museum
Named for prominent African-American teacher and community leader Solomon D. Spady, the museum offers the opportunity to learn about black history in Delray Beach via much more than exhibits. Take a laid-back trolley tour of Delray from the museum to view historic homes in the town’s familiar Monterrey and revival building styles.
Walks to Remember
Camden: Camden Hills State Park
With 30 miles of looping hiking trails that offer unmatched views of sparkling Penobscot Bay, this popular park is the ideal place to spend an hour, a half-day, or even a full day exploring the seabird havens and craggy cliffs for which Camden is famous. The 1.9-mile, moderately difficult Frohock Mountain trail bumps over three peaks and through oak and spruce forests, making it a particularly fine hike. If you’re seeking a unique adventure – and a delicious, earthy addition to your Camden dinners – seek out mycologist Greg Marley, who leads mushroom foraging tours through the park.
Delray Beach: Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens
These six striking gardens are the ideal place to learn about more than 100 years of Japanese culture in Delray and relax among the fragrant cherry blossoms and cloud-like bonsai trees that make up the sweeping grounds. Each of the gardens represents a different epoch in the rich history of Japan, making this a stroll through a thousand years of cultural heritage, all set to the sweet scents of blooming gardens.
Best Sands and Surf
Camden: Birch Point Beach State Park
Pristine and serene, this Owl’s Head treasure is located less than a half hour south of Camden and features rocky stretches that teem with small tidal pools, plus killer views of local pine forests and the sparkling Maine ocean. The bowl-shaped beach keeps the surf gentle and the waters swimmable, and it’s accessible through the fall and winter.
Delray Beach: Atlantic Dunes Park
Tucked away from the rest of the beach and the lively downtown, Atlantic Dunes Park offers an easy-to-walk wooden boardwalk above the beach, in addition to a 300-yard, hard-packed nature trail that takes you through the windswept dunes.
Best Offshore Exploration
Camden: Grindle Point Light
Maine’s rich maritime history is reflected in its 68 lighthouses, and there are 18 of the blazing beacons located within 40 miles of Camden. A six-mile drive up the coast and a short ferry ride will take you to Grindle Point Light, which features a sailors’ museum and a compact, well-preserved lighthouse that’s easy to explore.
Delray Beach: The Delray Wreck
Just 150 yards off Delray Beach proper, you’ll find the 1903 wreck of the S.S. Inchulva, which has become a thriving coral reef and marine wildlife refuge over the last century. The ship’s hull, stairs, and even its boiler are a great place to find schools of fish. Come springtime, tides and wind pull sand away from the wreck, making for even better diving.
Best Arts Experience
Camden: Camden Harbor Arts & Crafts Show
Held twice a year in July and October, this open, ocean-air market brings together dozens of local artisans who hock watercolor paintings, handcrafted jewelry, and pottery. Stroll along Atlantic Avenue, chat with the artists, then make plans to visit one of the dozen inspired galleries within a short drive of Camden proper.
Delray Beach: Downtown Gallery District
There’s a dizzying array of museums, theaters, and galleries located downtown, and the best way to enjoy Delray Beach’s compelling art may be a leisurely walk through the town. You’ll find sculptures of dancers, amusing “parking meter people,” and a stunning Wall of Water that flows over a pixelated background.
Camden: Samoset Resort
With 178 well-appointed rooms, a 200,000-gallon zero-entry swimming pool, golf championships, and winter ice rinks on property and short drives to the rolling hills and ocean waters of Downeast Maine, Samoset Resort is the ideal launching pad for an adventure in Camden, Rockport, and Rockland.
Delray Beach: Delray Sands Resort
Located on the beach and just a short walk from the communities of Delray Beach and Boca Raton, Delray Sands Resort offers proximity to thriving hot spots, as well as live entertainment and award-winning dining right on the property.